Federation Kids & Family and ZDF Studios to handle global distribution
For Immediate Release: France/Germany – Thursday 23 rd June 2022 – Premium kids content producer Cottonwood Media , in co-production with Opéra de Paris, and leading international broadcasters Hulu, ZDF, ZDF Studios, and France Télévisions have joined forces to produce the enchanting premium live-action tween series SPELLBOUND.
From the creators and producers of the hit drama “Find Me in Paris”, SPELLBOUND (26 X ½ hrs) is an exciting high-concept series that combines ballet, magic, witchcraft, and more, with diversity and inclusivity at the heart of the production.
When Cece Parker Jones (starring newcomer Hailey Melody Romain), a vivacious 15 year old relocates from a small town in the US to France to study at the Paris Opera Ballet School, she’s on top of the world. But things turn upside down when she discovers a book of family spells in the back room of her Aunt Ginger’s apothecary which is dedicated to organic and plant-based products. While snooping through the book, she unknowingly casts the antidote to a protection spell that has been hiding her identity since she was a little girl. And in doing so, she summons her nemesis. This spit-fire teen must juggle the pressures of an elite ballet school, learning new techniques she’s never studied before, keeping up with her intense academics, not to mention her new friendships and maybe a cute boy… or two, as well as her incredible ability to activate magic, while keeping the underground Coven a secret for only her closest friends.
With filming scheduled to commence this summer in Paris and later Brussels, SPELLBOUND, inspired by the pioneering hit series Find Me in Paris, is created by the same original executive producers and showrunners Jill Girling and Lori Mather (Find Me in Paris, Ride). Each storyline has been crafted to appeal to the tween demographic – while magic, mystery and dance are interwoven with elements such as school challenges, relationships, rivalry, romance, comedy and more, delivering a high-calibre entertainment series for a global audience.
Jill Girling and Lori Mather said: “Having worked in the ballet world for a few years, we got excited about telling aspirational stories with a BIPOC lead. With a fresh perspective on ballet and the added excitement of a magical twist, Cece and her friends have a lot of exciting stories for us to share. We are thrilled to have a fully diverse writers’ room, other than the two of us, giving us new and different perspectives than we've had in the past, allowing us to tell authentic stories for Spellbound.”
SPELLBOUND has already worked its magic by attracting a stand-out creative team. Line Producer is Renaud Mathieu (Emily in Paris, Patriot), and Series Lead Director is Alexander Jacob (Theodosia, 4 O’clock Club, Hollyoaks). Directors include Annie Bradley (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Expanse), as well as Robert Burke (Find Me in Paris, Free Rein). The series is produced by Cottonwood Media’s Zoé Carrera Allaix, Cécile Lauritano and David Michel.
Federation Kids & Family (key distributor of Cottonwood Media’s content) and ZDF Studios will handle worldwide sales.
Nicole Keeb, Head of International Co-productions and Acquisitions, Children and Youth Programs, ZDF, remarked: “It was easy for us to instantly fall in love with this wonderful concept! SPELLBOUND will fit perfectly into ZDF’s portfolio of high-profile live action teen series. We have been working with Cottonwood’s creative team on many projects and are very much looking forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation.”
Arne Lohmann, VP Junior at ZDF Studios adds: “After the tremendous success of FIND ME IN PARIS, it was only logical to partner again with the great production team of Cottonwood and the Paris Opera House. SPELLBOUND will delight audiences just like FIND ME IN PARIS did and we are proud to be part of it.”
Claire Heinrich, Deputy director of Children’s and Head of Acquisitions, France Télévisions said: “After Find me in Paris, which enchanted our viewers for three seasons in the exceptional setting of the Paris Opera, the Spellbound project appealed to us because it goes further in terms of diversity and inclusion. We are delighted to continue our collaboration with the Cottonwood team on this "magical" series and to enrich our fiction offering with strong female representations, aimed at tweens demo who consume them mainly on our Okoo platform.”
Co-founders of Cottonwood Media, David Michel, Cécile Lauritano & Zoé Carrera Allaix said: “We have anchored a superb team for this production and are delighted to further consolidate our partnership with such great broadcasters. Having kept the Paris Opera House as the main setting as per Find Me in Paris, SPELLBOUND brings a completely fresh and innovative storyline with some surprise elements to delight audiences worldwide.”
SPELLBOUND is a high-budget global co-production between US streamer Hulu, German pubcaster ZDF and its commercial arm ZDF Studios, French state broadcaster France Télévisions, and leading international kids prodco Cottonwood Media (France/Germany).
About Hulu Hulu is the leading and most comprehensive all-in-one premium streaming service that offers an expansive slate of live and on-demand entertainment, both in and outside the home, through a wide array of subscription options that give consumers ultimate control over their viewing experience. As part of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution segment, Hulu is the only on-demand offering that provides access to shows from every major U.S. broadcast network, libraries of hit TV series and films – including licensed content available exclusively on Hulu – and award-winning Hulu Originals, both with and without commercials. With Hulu + Live TV, subscribers receive a unique combination of access to 80+ live news, entertainment and sports TV channels from 20th Television, The Walt Disney Company, ABC NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, The CW, Turner Networks, A+E Networks and Discovery Networks, as well as Disney+ and ESPN+ included as part of the base plan. Visit hulu.com to subscribe or learn more about the service.
About Cottonwood Media Cottonwood Media (a subsidiary of Federation Entertainment and part of its kids’ division Federation Kids & Family) was created by David Michel, Zoé Carrera Allaix & Cécile Lauritano. Cottonwood Media creates, produces and invests in premium, talent-driven content with a focus on bringing together North American and European audiences, on both linear and non-linear platforms. In 2015 Cottonwood Media partnered with Federation Entertainment to form Federation Kids & Family, a global distribution division which distributes original content as well as third party acquisitions. Based in Paris with offices in Los Angeles, Toronto and Berlin, Cottonwood’s productions include premium live action series such as Theodosia (period kids/family - co-pro partners ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, HBO Max, Globo), Find Me in Paris (teen skewed co-pro with ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, Be-Films and the Opera National de Paris) with 3 seasons, the animated feature film Around the World in 80 Days, distributed by Studio Canal (#1 French movie in Box office internationally in 2021), and animated series’ such as The Ollie and Moon Show (preschool), wacky kids comedy Squish (6-10yrs)
About ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen): ZDF is Germany’s national public television broadcaster and has been broadcasting since 1st April 1963. It also operates the two thematic channels ZDFneo and ZDFinfo. In partnership with other public broadcasters, ZDF jointly operates the internet-only offer funk, the German channels PHOENIX and KiKA, and the European channels 3sat and ARTE. The corporation has a permanent staff of 3,600 plus a similar number of freelancers. Since March 2022, ZDF has been headed by Director-General Norbert Himmler. ZDF is based in Mainz, but also maintains permanent bureaus in the 16 Länder capitals as well as special editorial and production facilities in Berlin. For international coverage, ZDF has foreign correspondents operating in 19 permanent bureaus worldwide. ZDF offers full-range generalist programming with a mix of information, education, arts, entertainment and sports. Its coverage provides both a broad view on the world and a comprehensive picture of Germany and, in this way, ZDF strives to offer the highest possible public service value. Website: www.zdf.de About Federation Kids & Family Headed by co-founder David Michel, Federation Kids & Family is a global kids’ content producer and distributor, and a division of Federation Entertainment, a leading global media powerhouse specializing in high-end international programming. Federation Kids & Family distributes premium original content featuring animated series and specials, as well as talent-driven live action drama series. Titles include Presto! School of Magic, The Ollie and Moon Show, Squish (animation series), Let’s Dance (docu-style kids series), Theodosia (period live action kids’ series) Find Me in Paris (tween drama series), The Star of Andra and Tati, (animation special) and more. Federation Kids & Family also focuses on building strategic partnerships and alliances with major international companies and broadcasters.
About ZDF Studios ZDF Studios was originally founded in 1993 as ‘ZDF Enterprises’, a private subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest and most renowned television broadcasters in Europe. The company was renamed ‘ZDF Studios’ on 1 April 2022. Based in Mainz, the business is responsible for distributing programmes worldwide, implementing international co-productions, acquiring licences and merchandising key brands under its own name, for ZDF and for third parties. Successfully established as an independent market player in Germany and globally, it operates as part of a strong network of 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme stock in the world, plus a constantly growing catalogue of international productions consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children’s programmes. By continually evolving, the ZDF Studios group has been able to open up numerous business areas in the television and media sector. As a result, ZDF Studios now provides a comprehensive full-service offer and covers every stage in the creation and exploitation chain of successful TV productions in all genres, from developing content to producing, licensing, marketing, merchandising, online rights and much more.